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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 31, 2002

Mililani, Pearl City boys reach volleyball final

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

When Mililani High School plays Leilehua — be it football, air riflery or tiddlywinks — it's usually a hard-fought, intense game.

Mililani's Scott Neumann hits over a block attempt by Leilehua's Michael Newmeyer.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

So it's only fitting that last night's O'ahu Interscholastic Association boys volleyball semifinal between the two Central O'ahu rivals was a classic slugfest all the way to the final point.

Mililani (11-1) won 16-14, 16-14 to advance to the championship match against Pearl City (11-1), set for 5:30 p.m. next Thursday at the University of Hawai'i's Stan Sheriff Center.

But to get there, the Trojans had to fight off a furious Leilehua rally in the first game and then make a comeback of their own from a 12-6 deficit in the second game.

Mililani jumped to a 9-1 lead into the first game, only to see the Mules (9-4) go on a 13-2 run and serve for game point.

"They always step it up against us," said Puna Neumann, who had 10 kills and four blocks for Mililani. "We lost our concentration in the first game, and in the second game we underestimated them again. They really gave it to us."

Each time, however, Mililani dug deep to pull out the victory. Neumann had a block to close Leilehua's first-game lead to 14-13, then a net violation and hitting error put the Trojans up 15-14. Neumann ended it with an ace.

"We came out too high and we had to simmer ourselves down," Mules coach Ernest Balignasay said. "We came back strong, but then we couldn't maintain it."

The momentum from Leilehua's comeback, however, seemed to carry into the second game as it grabbed a 12-7 lead.

But Mililani roared back and finally won it on a block by Aaron Fujimoto and Tyson Perry.

Michael Newmeyer led the Mules with nine kills.

• Pearl City sweeps: Jonathan Charette had nine kills and Kapena Wong seven to lead Pearl City to a 15-4, 15-4 semifinal victory over Campbell (10-3).

The Chargers jumped to leads of 6-1 in the first game and 7-1 in the second game and never looked back.

Pearl City's Elsworth Ka'ana'ana had three jump-serve aces.